Posted on 06 August 2013

I do love bags. I really do. I have had to stop my constant bag purchasing since setting up my business at home, I really have very little need for them now, but I am still obsessed. When I spent 7 years working in an office for the ‘man’, I developed a deep affection for anything that would hold stuff. I had several gym-bags and mountains of handbags of all sizes and colours. I toted a coordinated look every day; outfit, handbag, lunch bag and gym bag.

I was so coordinated that one day when getting changed for a Bodybalance class, a fellow change room habitant commented that my two-tone pink gym bag matched my joggers, my singlet top and my yoga mat. I almost collapsed from embarrassment when I stripped down to change my pants and realised that my undies also carried the two tone pink theme. Yes, my companion noticed and she just smiled politely as my face jumped on the matchy matchy bandwagon.

My collection has been stripped down in the last few years and is far more conservative than it once was - do you know how hard it is toting a show stopper handbag while wearing joggers?

Unfortunately my bag obsession has left my body with additional baggage.... a fairly average neck, temperamental shoulders and nervy elbows.

When muscles are stretched at their trigger points in the shoulder and neck, they can cause pain not only in those areas, but further down the torso (and if bad enough right to the ankles!) Carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder leads to a counterbalance and shift in spinal alignment that can cause a multitude of issues such as:

Shoulder or Neck Pain: The strap cutting into the muscles, ligaments and tendons in the shoulder joint can cause burning, numbness and pain and the loading on one side pulls these structures  against the vertebrae, pulling them down and across towards the weight.

Scalp Pain: Immobilised neck and shoulder muscles can irritate the nerves in the neck that feed into your scalp.

Rib Pain: Muscles wrapping from your shoulder blades and spine to your ribs can become tight and restricted with the immobilisation of the directly affected muscles.

Lower Back or Hip Pain: A bag heavier than 10% of your bodyweight causes muscle to strain against the weight on one side of the lumber discs.

Knee or Ankle Pain: A heavy bag changes your natural gait, causing your knees to shit forward. Pain in the side of the knees and ankles can be a sign that you need to lighten your load.

Elbow Pain: Carrying a massive bag celebrity style (on a bent elbow in front of you) not only brings with it all of the above potential issues, but you can throw into the mix compression of the nerves in the arms and elbows. Hello tennis elbow!

To avoid or minimise these potential issues, take an audit of the contents of your bag and lighten your load, ensure you regularly move your bag from side to side and look at getting a gym bag on wheels. Stretching and self massage can help, as can a visit to a therapist if you’ve already started feeling twinges of discomfort.

So, as I rub my neck and click my shoulder, I have to go. I’m on the hunt for a perfect bag to match my 10+ pairs of joggers. Did I mention I love joggers..........

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